By Carol Tobias, NRLC President & Pro-Life Perspective Host
Yesterday, we began discussing the controversial problem of our world population in decline. While the United Nations estimate that world population will continue to grow until 2050, population expert Philip Longman says that by 2070—just 20 years later—we will see world population begin to rapidly decline.
Longman is the author of a book entitled, “The Empty Cradle” which addresses statistical surveys of world population growth and draws some chilling conclusions. He estimates that by the year 2050 the entire world will be feeling the stress not of overpopulation but of a depopulation crisis.
Longman reports that “a closer look at demographic trends shows that the rate of world population growth has fallen by more than 40 per cent since the late 1960s…. All told, some 59 countries, comprising roughly 44 per cent of the world’s total population, are not producing enough children to avoid population decline, and the phenomenon continues to spread. By 2045, according to the latest UN projections, the world’s fertility rate as a whole will have fallen below replacement levels.”
The short-term benefits to a decline in birth rate are far outstripped by the problems that will surface if the population continues to shrink. Longman writes, “Although at first the fact that there are fewer children to feed, clothe and educate leaves more for adults to enjoy, soon enough, if fertility falls beneath replacement levels, the number of productive workers drops as well, and the number of dependent elderly increase. And these older citizens consume far more resources than children do.”
And herein lies a major concern for pro-lifers. Once older citizens are seen as a burden to society, it is easy for society to rationalize euthanasia, even involuntary euthanasia.
Longman notes that “even after considering the cost of education, a typical child in the U.S. consumes 28 per cent less than the typical working-age adult, whereas elders consume 27 per cent more, mostly in health-related expenses. Largely because of this imbalance, population ageing, once it begins creating more seniors than workers, puts severe strains on government budgets.”
To illustrate his point, Longman uses Germany as his example. “In Germany… public spending on pensions…is expected to swell from an already staggering 10.3 per cent of gross domestic product to 15.4 per cent by 2040.” During this time the number of workers who will be supporting these programs will shrink from 2.6 to 1.4. Almost a 1 to 1 ratio. That would mean that every worker would be expected to work enough to support not only himself and his family, but also provide nearly 75% of a retired person’s pension payment.
It is not difficult to imagine a hard working man or woman becoming resentful of the financial expectations placed on him or her. A population off-balance can place the elderly in jeopardy as they depend on others to support them and provide for their medical necessities.
Once the elderly become a perceived “burden,” there will be more social incentive for euthanasia. If abortion was posed as a “solution” to overpopulation, you can bet that the pro-death activists will be campaigning tirelessly to pass laws in favor of euthanasia as depopulation becomes a reality.
The answer to this impending crisis is that we must, as a world, value all human life once again.
Longman writes that the family has become nothing more than a “unit of consumption” in today’s world. It is no longer viewed as valuable to society. Children are no longer seen as the hope of the future, but as consumers of natural resources.
In order to prevent the killing of millions of elderly world-wide, we must begin to act now. We must continue to work to turn the tide away from death and toward respect for all human life.
Editor’s note. You can hear today’s broadcast—and any you may have missed this week—at www.prolifeperspective.com.
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